After Georis skipped a year of high school and graduated in 1958 when he was 16, he went on to earn a degree in French literature from UC Riverside, where he also met Sheppard, and graduated in 1963. At 21, he began teaching at Polytechnic High in Riverside, where the students also came to recognize him from the band he and his brother had formed, The Sandals, which recorded the music for Bruce Brown’s iconic 1966 surfing documentary, “The Endless Summer”.
A master’s degree in French lit and a desire to teach at the college level eventually brought him to the Monterey Peninsula to work at what was then the Monterey Institute of Foreign Studies and is now Middlebury Institute. His brother was already here running a photography studio, and after their sister and her new boyfriend joined them, they together opened La Boheme, a French restaurant on Dolores that served a prix fixe menu once daily. (La Bicyclette occupies the building now.)
Their foray into restaurants led to more, including Pacific Grove’s Fandango, owned since 1986 by Pierre and Marietta Bain, and Casanova, a longtime favorite of locals and visitors. They also had a bakery, as well as a shop that carried the country’s first Birkenstocks. The siblings eventually divested themselves of some of those businesses, and later, the brothers divided their small restaurant empire, with Georis retaining control of La Bicyclette, which he often referred to as his “little jewel.”
“As a businessperson and restaurateur, he was unique in his authenticity,” Gabe said. Not only did Georis love his restaurant and everyone who worked there, they all adored him. “He treated everyone in a way that they felt understood, and they were often inspired by him.”
That warmth and inclusion extended to his customers, too, as he often took time to welcome them, thank them for their patronage — and occasionally pause to read their fortunes in their bowls of the restaurant’s well known chocolate mousse for two.
“He was able to lead from the heart in a way that nobody ever took advantage of, at least not in any major way,” Gabe said. “It’s easy to be a sucker and it’s easy to be a dictator, but to find that fine line in between being heartfelt and caring and not letting people take advantage of you is a real tightrope to walk, and I think he was a master of that.”